Hollywood's Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History

By Reynold Humphries | Go to book overview

4
The Hearings of 1947

OPENING REMARKS

The implications of the events which took place in Washington in October 1947 and which were to usher in a period of fear, betrayal and a concerted attack on civil liberties cannot be fully grasped without a brief discussion of the activities of HUAC during the period 1938—44 when presided over by Martin Dies, a conservative Democrat from Texas.

Dies is notorious for his denunciation of Hollywood in 1938 as a den of 'premature anti-fascists', meaning that he was not opposed to Fascist regimes until they waged war on the US. Future blacklistee, writer Paul Jarrico, was proud of the insult.1 Research has shown that Dies maintained close relations with various Fascist and anti-Semitic organisations which supported his singleminded attacks on subversives (read: Communists). The Ku Klux Klan, the pro-Nazi American Bund, a convicted Nazi agent and William Dudley Pelley, founder of the fascist Silvershirts, all expressed their agreement with Dies' antiCommunist agenda (Pomerantz 1963: 25; O'Reilly 1983: 40—1). Two months after the US had entered the war, the following statement was made by the Federal Communications Commission (11 February 1942):

Representative Dies received as many favorable references in Axis pro-
paganda in this country as any living American public figure. His opin
ions were quoted by the Axis without criticism at any time. (Pomerantz
1963: 25)

On 23 May 1939 the pro-Nazi George Deatherage was called to testify before the Dies Committee in one of its rare investigations of an '-ism' other than

-77-

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Hollywood's Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • The Background 1
  • I - Drawing Up the Battle Lines 7
  • Introduction 9
  • 1: Hollywood and the Union Question 27
  • 2: Thewaryears, 1939-1945 40
  • 3: Hollywood Strikes, the Right Strikes Back 62
  • II - From the Hot War to the Cold War 75
  • 4: The Hearings of 1947 77
  • 5: None Shall Escape 105
  • 6: The Anti-Communist Crusade on the Screen 128
  • 7: Life (And Death) on the Blacklist 144
  • Conclusion 159
  • Archival Sources 164
  • Bibliography 166
  • Index 175
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